It used to be that communists hid under our beds, now they go to university. This story has been developing in The Australian over the last few weeks and has now jumped across to the AFR.
Education department officials as well as national security and cybersecurity experts will meet university representatives on Wednesday to thrash out guidelines governing collaborative research, amid government concerns over growing Chinese encroachment.
Senior sources said the government was especially concerned with collaboration in such areas as artificial intelligence, quantum physics and some engineering disciplines.
Now here is the crazy thing about university research – it tends to exist in the public domain. The very argument that the government uses to justify public subsidy for research should apply here too. The idea is that R&D is both non-rival and non-excludable and will under provided in a free-market. Now I’m not convinced that is entirely true – yet the very same government that makes that argument is trying to exclude (some) foreigners from doing research or accessing that research.